Live blogging from iStrategy Sydney

Spending the day at #iStrategy, global marketing conference. I won’t summarise the keynote sessions. You will be able to find most of them on iStrategy site.  However, I am extracting the common themes I find throughout the multiple presentations.
Amazing line up to start day 1 Ken Segall (ex Apple creative director, the man responsible for “I” everywhere, follow up by Jason Hincks (co founder & CEO of Movember), as well as a Panel of retailers etc…

The leanrings behind their success stories can be summarised in 5 themes:

1-Simplicity is what makes people fall in love with brands:
This was very much, Steve Jobs’ philosophy and how he drove Apple from near bankruptcy to global success. Making users love Apple and its products was all he truly cared about. Why? He turned computer users into Apple fans by making simplicity the ultimate sophistication.
From his experience, Ken Segall explained that being simple is not easy. A pure idea is battled by over populated meetings, negativity current affairs, competitors fighting back… all these currents push you to complexity…  He summarised how to achieve simplicity by a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupery “ Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing else to remove”.
My French touch says: Simplicity is sexy!

This trend is also reflected in the way retail is changing. Technology is actually making the customer journey longer and ever more complex: discovery> search>buy>acquire>use & share>relationship. There are now more channels than ever before, the role of retailers is to bring them together into a seamless customer experience. In store influences online behaviour and vice versa. The key is to make it simple & compelling. John Batistich (Director Marketing, Westfiled) shopping world tour showed some great shopping experiences from Eataly food theater to Nike wearable devices, Burberry Flagship store and Uniqlo clothes to change the world. From his point of view, the next big change is location profiling. This is simple: bring customer, content and context together!

2-Be authentic:
I have talked about that in many of my posts as it is an absolute pillar of social media success. It came out strongly again in the beautiful Movember story. Authenticity is  what prevents Movember from turning into white noise on the marketplace . How have the Movember team managed to keep their idea growing over 10 years and across multiple countries? Simply (ahha) by putting the fun factor as a priority over raising funds (of course raising funds is important, but is not the main reason why guys join!) and by refreshing their brand every year with a campaign theme that is true to Men’s health. This has driven them to always defend their brand vigorously (selective partnership, not expanding into growing Mos all year long…)

How women can support Movemver

How women can support Movemver

On a side note, I will also highlight the importance of social media. Just to nail the point that social is  taking on search #justsaying: Facebook is the number one referral of traffic and donation (brings 31% Movember traffic and 15% of donation) and is ahead of Google…

Also, when you are Authentic you can do stuff like Scoopertino without creating a crisis…

Certainly true for anyone who worked with Steve Jobs at Apple, but also true for the Movember crew who turned a mates catch up at the pub into a multi-million dollar fund raiser.
Nick Baker (Executive General Manager Marketing) also talked about how Tourism Australia took passion to the next level by making their 4.2 Million fans the heros in the community. In doing so, they created the biggest, most engaged social media team in the world.
My take on it is: if you are not passionate about what you do, ask yourself why you are doing it?

4- Take some risks:
Confirmation from executives that the only way to grow is to challenge the status quo and take risks.
From Tourism Australia shifting from advertising to socially amplified advocacy. Easier said than done but over the years they have done it! From photo Fridays, to newsjacking the social media team now plays a central role into the communication planning. Their latest campaign Best jobs in the world collected over 620K application from all around the globe. Surely better engagement than a TVC!
Again, Steve Job’s example “here is to the crazy ones ad (voice over by Jobs but that actually never got released) is the best illustration of achieving greatness by not following but leading the way

Marie Sornin

The end of the digital beginning

Almost one year contracting at Fairfax Metro. Best experience to understand the morphing of a traditional business to a digital one.

Fairfax has recently accelerated the evolution of its print heritage to digital & mobile platforms. Not easy but necessary when we know that newspaper advertising revenue is experiencing double-digit decline. Thinking that the success of the transition is totally relying on advertising dollars would be a mistake: Overall the advertising market in Australia is only predicted to grow by 2.8% over the next 3 years, of course the main growth driver is digital (+11%) capture revenue from other platforms, but overall the pie is not growing that much.

So what will it take for media companies to be successful in the digital age?

Defining (or creating) and owning a role within the value chains means: and engaged audience that is attractive to advertisers but also the opportunity to serve an area of the chain, therefore create transaction revenues, and grow out of the advertising pie into the e commerce pie.

I was recently at a PwC presentation and Megan Brownlow (Editor, Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook at PwC) summarized very well the challenges and opportunities that media companies face and identified new emerging roles within the value chain:
– Venue: The portals. They are the gateway to online content & services. e.g: Ninemsn, Yahoo!7
–  Community Curator: Expert and established authority on a specific filed. e.g.: Business Spectator (recently acquired by News Limited for apprx $30 Mill). Conversant media with the Roar is also a brilliant example
– Content monopoliser: Creates or distributes highly desirable content that users are willing to pay for. Rights management is critical e.g.: HBO, Foxtel
– Device developer: Apple is the definition of this segment… setting the rules for its technology and defining the 30% of anything that goes in the app store
–  Service champion: Fairfax has done very well in that space by bringing large audiences from its Mastheads to the online services it has acquired over the years e.g: Stayz, RSVP… we could add PayPal, Amazon, ASOS… to this list.
– Ideas generator: Nimble third parties, good at execution, good at collaborating. They will help traditional business to get more value out of their digital assets. I’d like to include digital cuisine in this bucket but also companies such as Innovid, Pixolut,…

Where are you positionned within the value chain? Are you feeling confident about your business at the end of the digital beginning?

Marie Sornin


Under 30

Interview with this year’s B&T 30 under 30 finalists.

Good luck to Marshy, Laura, Nat & Nat, Maura, Sam!!!

From the National Privacy Law to the Australian Privacy Law

Australia is no different than European countries or the USA, and the time has come for the government to review our National Privacy Law. The current law hasn’t been reviewed for 6 years, the elections are just around the corner, so it is time for a refresh; the new law will apply to any business collecting information as well as the government itself.

At this point the amends are only a proposal, but it seems most likely that the majority of them will pass. The proposal aims at defining the privacy principles under which information can be used for direct marketing and advertising (on & off line).

Just like in other countries, the review has some serious implications for marketers. Advertising and DR industry bodies are discussing with the government to influence the making of the law and ensure that the amends protect the users without being unreasonable or impossible to implement for business.

There is not a lot to worry about in the short term as the review is planned for November 2012, followed by 6 to 12 moths for business to become compliant.
However, there is a lot to worry about if the current proposal was to become a law…

So what exactly is there to worry about for marketers?

First of all, as Jodie Sangster (adma CEO) pointed it out during the adma privacy briefing (webinar coming soon), the initial purpose of the National Privacy Law was to protect individuals against identity theft and fraud. The proposal for the Australian Privacy Law is losing its main purpose and aims at covering convenience.

Secondly, the definition of personal information is very vague. “Information and opinion about an individual that can be reasonably identifiable”. This definition is very vague and the government is willing to keep it that way. It makes things risky. European countries have just adopted very strict standards and parts of the Australian Privacy Law that are kept unclear could easily default to European type standards. For instance, the proposal doesn’t clearly says if internet browsing information can “reasonably “identify a person, so shall we or shall we not apply what Europe has implemented regarding cookie collection?

About the text itself:

Anonymity and psuedonimity: In Europe individuals must have the option to delete all their information at any time.
In Australia, the proposal says that individuals must have the option to NOT identify themselves or use a pseudo unless the company can’t deal without knowing the individual (eg: e commerce delivery).

Prohibition on Direct Marketing: “if a company holds personal information the company can not use or disclose for direct marketing.” This comes with a set of clauses to explain the details. Seems fair, right? The only problem with this one, is that it is a negative statement so, not going to be easy to develop and work around. Adma is pushing to get it rephrased into a positive
Also, there is no definition of direct marketing and at this point in time doesn’t include behavioural targeting

Using third party data: The proposal informs business that they may use or disclose information collected via third party if:
– The individual has consented to the use & disclosure
– The organisation provides means to opt out
– The organisation draws attention to the individual that they can opt out: prominent opt out
– The individual has made such a request

In principle it all seems fair to the individual & the companies, but as you apply examples it appears tricky. For instance, if a company collects information via social media sites, they must provide a prominent opportunity to opt out. Think about it, Facebook apps (very often used for advertising purposes), providing a way to opt out from collecting data would add one step to the permission process + if the user opts out, very simply they wouldn’t be able to use the app at all…
In practice some of these clauses seem impossible to implement from a digital marketing standpoint. The risk is that we would go the highest level of protection: default opt out… now, try to browse the internet clearing your cookies every single time to access a site. What will you see?? Not much… horrible experience for the user, immense potential revenue loss for business

Cross boarder disclosure: This one is very simple: before disclosing data overseas, the organisation must ensure that the recipients complie with the Australian Privacy Law (i.e.: agrees to Australian law or a more secure one). If there is a breach overseas, the Australian company is responsible.

Fines & enforcement: So far, fines were applied based on complaints, the proposal allows the privacy commission to actively investigate any business.
The $1 Mill fine frame applies (like any other law), however under the Australian Privacy Law, the $1 Mill fine will apply per contravention… the definition of contravention is un clear: is it per breach? per record?

So, as the review of the Privacy Law is reaching a critical phase with serious and wide-reaching implications for direct and digital marketing and the digital economy in general, I encourage you to measure its potential impact on your business, stay informed about what is going on overseas and stay tuned to the discussions adma is having with the government.

Marie Sornin


Will “in view ads” become the new benchmark for digital media?

We have argued over auto refresh, video auto play, post view… here comes “in view ads”. I sense that ad verification is to be the next debate on the digital media industry and I’d like to get your opinion on this trending topic!

From what I have heard so far agencies and media owners will fundamentally disagree: Clients will push for “verified impressions” to become the main currency of online measurement and delivery, whereas publishers will want to protect the monetization of all types of ad supply across their networks.

There is currently no industry standard on the topic and the information available comes from US research or anecdotal technical vendors deploying new products (which are yet to be audited)… What’s worrying is that once again the digital medium is being scrutinized for its accountability when NO other media channel can deliver anywhere near its level of measurement… in spite of “30% of paid ads never seen” according to Ad news, online video ads received 18% more attention than TV video ads (IPG Media Lab advertising attention study)


So, let’s be clear “ ad verification” is a system that ensures every ad impression is a quality impression, every impression is compliant, and every ad was served and displayed exactly as intended. Basically a way to control that not only the ads are served in the right environment to the right audience but that they are actually viewed!

Please help me build an informed opinion, share your thoughts & experience on the topic!

Marie Sornin



The happy secret to better work

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity…

Data is the new black

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By Guest blogger Kristin Kunsaginam, digital account manager at Zenith-Optimedia and passionate about data, dancing, and lots of other things!

In the world of marketing, data has earned itself a seat at the table amongst the TVCs, DPS’s and MREC’s of the world.  It is acknowledged as the new black, a trading commodity and the ability to deliver sophisticated marketing.  It is the four-letter word that marketers love to hate; it is easy enough to understand but comes with a 500+ page phantom manual.  

Data has always been at the heart of marketing – heck, budgets would not be approved if we couldn’t justify that marketing works; data being at the heart of it.   In the digital age, the use of data goes to another level; the ability to combine registration data, with browsing habits to deliver targeted messaging to a consumer, and that is just one level of how data is being used.  

Just to give an example, I was on Agoda a couple of weeks ago looking for hotels in Hanoi for an upcoming trip.  I did not “convert”, yet. I was still “researching” i.e. holding out for a deal.  Over the next few days, thanks to my robust browsing behaviour which often leads me onto to Google Content Network ad supported sites, I was served up an Agoda  ad which had 3 of the different hotels I was looking at, with a 3 different discounts. Score. One conversion. Thank you very much.  

Data in digital marketing is an essential part towards making the campaign a success.  When I read about how “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl was Pregnant Before Her Father Did” my first thought was wow and then sh*t.  This is a perfect example of how data has been used to cleverly deliver the right message at the right time.  Or maybe not so right time.

As consumers we are exposed to it almost everyday and the best example is when on Facebook, those ads that remind you that you are single by serving you an dating site ad (frankly the reporting ad functionality doesn’t appear to work, I still am served the same ad no matter how many times I say it’s against my view) is an example of how to combine the use of data in marketing can work (and work too well).  For marketers, minus my slight distaste of a reminder of my single-hood, the right information data and targeting can prove to be a useful tool for relevant marketing.  

The missing link to the Target story was if they got the demo targeting right the whole thing could have delivered the appropriate messaging at the right time i.e. the consumer is still a teenager and that itself could be an issue.  There are times that advertisers need need to do the due diligence of adding the emotional connection for the consumer and testing every scenario possible before a campaign is set live to ensure that the sensitivity is protected.  

Any advertiser has an abundance of data on their hands, however, the tricky bit is consolidating all the data points into one channel and making it effective.  While data is important to marketers, the management of data is a big question mark. Every source collecting the data is sensitive towards its use beyond its own walls.


It takes two to tango.
Advertisers bounded by legal obligation and risk of invading consumers privacy are often reluctant to share their data. However, being precious about the data limits an advertiser learnings for present campaigns but also gaining a wider understanding beyond its own walls. There is so many times the consumer will visit your website and so many times an eDM or DM will reach them. We need to diversify the one to one communication and with the right data it can minimise wastage and increase effectiveness.

Publishers too own significant volume of data that is the gateway for an advertiser.  From the site registration data and cookie pool collection those information is just a start.  

Data is precious, but all parties need to come to an agreement about allowing the right use of data, remembering that the consumer/ user is at the end of the stick.  In the States, the Obama Administration introduce the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” which proves that while all the use of data makes marketing a whole lot sexier, there is the risk of violation of personal space for the consumer.  

Up, up and away.
In the ideal scenario, publishers have data and advertisers have data, and the two share in good harmony to deliver consumers the appropriate message.  I think this is a place that we can get to, but the first challenge is ensuring that that the consumers privacy is protected.  Much of the education will have to start at the consumer end, that they know what they are signing up for.  The other challenge, is for advertisers and publishers to work together and deliver the right messaging.  It gets me excited thinking of the possibilities that it could unleash.

So here is 2012, that as advertisers and publishers that we come and start working together. 

Kristin Kunsaginam